Sarasota Reaps Good Numbers Anew


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, November 9, 2017 – The personal-finance website WalletHub has again awarded high marks to Sarasota in its 2017 analysis of the “Best Small Cities in America.” In this rating, Sarasota achieved 95th percentile, topped only by Boca Raton (98 th percentile) amongst other small Florida cities.

Earlier, WalletHub put Sarasota atop its 2017 list of the Best Places to Retire in Florida, with Boca Raton the runner-up in this ranking that serves as a benchmark to the value of Sarasota homes for sale particularly to baby boomers. In 2016, the personal finance website also found Sarasota as the Florida leader for the Best Cities for Finding a Job, another indicator on the desirability of settling in our city.

Tops in Life Quality

Tops in Life Quality

In the recent small-city rankings, WalletHub examined 1,268 cities with 25,000–100,000 residents, using affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life, and safety as the basis of the ratings. All in all, the website evaluated 33 life aspects which for affordability included homeownership rate, housing costs, median household income, and cost of living.

Out of the 1,268 cities studied, Sarasota ranked No. 1 in quality of life. This was measured based on average commute time, share of population walking to work, and average weekly work hours. Likewise weighed were per capita numbers for life and leisure centers such as shops, restaurants, movie houses, museums, bars and clubs, coffee shops, performing arts centers, and fitness centers.

Region Leads As Well

Other Southwest Florida cities scored relatively well in the WalletHub’s best small cities, with North Port in the 77th percentile and Bradenton in the 61st percentile. In a separate rating earlier, the combined Bradenton–Sarasota–North Port metropolitan area scored highly in the national Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index. In 2015, the metro was ranked first nationally in the index and third in 2016.

Economic data released recently also paint a rosy picture for the Bradenton–Sarasota–North Port area. According to figures from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the unemployment rate in the metro dropped to 3.3 percent in September from 3.9 percent a year earlier. This level, one of the lowest in Florida, compares with the state-wide jobless rate of 3.8 percent in the same month, which is 1.1 percent lower than the September 2016 unemployment rate.

Foreclosures Dwindle

Amazon Corporate Headquarters

The region’s record low unemployment along with robust gains in home prices are notably already registering a positive impact on the local housing sector. The latest Loan Performance Insights of data provider CoreLogic show that the foreclosure rate in Manatee and Sarasota stood at 0.9 percent in July, the fifth month in a row that the reading was at below 1 percent. The two-county rate is below the 1.2 percent estimate for all of Florida.

Local officials are looking forward as well on the economic impact of the Atlanta Braves’ relocation of its spring training camp to North Port in 2019. One estimate, described as conservative, put the economic benefits coming into the region at $56.7 billion per year following the ball club’s transfer.

Hopes are pinned too on the three separate bids of Sarasota and Manatee to host Amazon’s second corporate headquarters. The online retail giant has received a total of 238 bids from cities and regions not only from the U.S. but also from Canada and Mexico. Amazon is now evaluating each proposal, and the recent positive readings on Sarasota and the region should help some in winning Amazon to set up its new nerve center here.